BAN THE ‘B’ WORD — PERHAPS THERE’S A BETTER WAY.
The Start of a New Movement…
Like some of you, I’ve been fed a line that’s starting to wear thin.
Like some of you, I find life can be so very full … of good and bad and lovely and overwhelming things … but, the bottom line is, it’s full.
Like some of you, I’m becoming disillusioned by a quality of life I’m supposed to be able to attain and maintain, but often feels out of grasp.
Does this ring any bells?
Work-life balance is THE uber-goal of our time. The ultimate achievement. The sign that we’re doing everything right. Yet just how often do we actually feel like we’ve got it?
Perhaps during our holidays, when we’ve finally forgotten about the pile of work we’ve left behind? When, for once, we get home at a reasonable hour, so that we can read our kids a bedtime story or watch their school play? When the autumnal weather clears long enough for us to go for a run, mow the lawn and have a sunset barbecue with friends and family, all in one day?
Those are special moments, but we don’t have those moments every day. Because there’s always something demanding our time, for which we have to trade something else.
The notion of ‘balance’ is bullshit.
At least when it comes to measuring our quality of life.
Let me explain…
‘Balance’ implies a state of symmetry between different elements. The opposite - ‘imbalance’ - implies that one thing gains the upper hand while another loses.
The ultimate goal of work-life balance is achieving equilibrium between the different facets that make up our lives. So that we can be in harmony with our environment (internal & external).
We put a LOT of effort into what usually turn out to be fairly small moments when we do in fact feel something akin to work-life balance.
In reality, life usually involves quite a lot of juggling as part of trying to manage the balancing act.
Balance is a static concept, i.e. when things are in balance, nothing moves. But, like the cycles of nature, our life is fluid, full of ups and downs. Nothing ever stays in equilibrium for long. So, work-life balance is an unrealistic goal, as it’s something we can’t maintain indefinitely.
Perhaps it’s time to rethink striving for this whole elusive work-life balance thing and rather put our energies to better use?
What we need is a new measure. A new way of thinking.
It’s called Work-Life Cadence*
*Note: I probably didn’t coin this phrase, but it’s definitely not being bandied about near enough, and I’d like to see that change. (and another thing … work is part of life, so should we even be placing the two in opposition to each other?)
I first heard the word years ago when I became part of a bike gang in London. It refers to optimal pedalling rhythm when cyclists find their groove.
I fell in love with the word and how its sound conveys the movement it describes.
The cool thing about cadence is that it’s versatile and multi-disciplinary.
In speaking, it denotes modulation or inflection. In music, it references a sequence of chords or notes. It’s also used in running, singing, dancing, yoga, meditation and anything else we do which involves a tempo, pattern or rhythmical flow.
In the context of our lives, I suggest embracing cadence as a means of navigating the highs and lows we typically experience in a given day, week, month or year.
I believe in this idea so strongly that I made a short video about it, complete with cheesy dance moves and a choice word about the hype.
We don’t need balance, which is static. We need momentum, because life is always moving, and we need to move with it.
So, we need to find ways to incorporate the rhythm and flow of life into how we respond to it. In other words, becoming more in tune with our environment, just like a surfer riding a wave, or a skater in the bowl.
What we need is a movement. A revolution.
There don’t seem to be too many reliable leaders out there at the moment to guide us. But the good news is that we don’t need others to lead us on this. We can lead ourselves.
So, I’m getting this movement going, but I can’t do it without you!
Here’s the deal:
- It’s simple to partake (it starts with making one small change)
- It’s going to be revolutionary (it can change the world)
- It’s free to join (and is guaranteed to change your life for the better, because you’re in control)
There are only 3 conditions for membership:
1). Consider what you need to do to create cadence in your life.
If you watched my cheesy video, I mentioned strengthening our fundamentals. What I’m referring to are the practices and habits we have around self-care, knowledge and discipline, which form the foundations of how we interact with the world.
These are the things which grease the wheels of our relationships, how we do our work, and how we think about play.
Where are you struggling, and what can you change, in small increments, over time? Start with the basics…. look at your sleep, nutrition, movement, breathing, and your regard for yourself and others.
2). Initiate those changes one step (or dance move) at a time.
What’s one small thing you can do to create create momentum in one of those areas?
Not getting enough sleep? Go to bed an hour earlier instead of trawling Twitter. It will make you feel less anxious at work the next day. Feeling anxious at work? Fit in breathing meditation moments during your day. It will help you sleep better at night.
Change in just one aspect cascades into the others. That’s how momentum works. Win win.
3). Spread the word far and wide.
We need to save people from this ridiculous idea that work-life balance is relevant or realistic. Like my dance moves, the concept is outdated.
Work-life cadence is the way to go. So let’s get the message out there..
“Ban the Balance. Get into the Groove.”